Apple vs. Windows

I need some advice. Once again my windows has crashed! I get so tired of it. What do people do who don't know how to reformat and install? Regarding speed and memory in the apple system, is it the same level of performance as in windows? Is it apples and oranges or apples-apples? Is 1GB of memory the same in one as in the other? Do they function the same? Do I need more memory in the Apple to equal the Windows memory? I also use Ubuntu Linux, but the graphic programs just aren't there. I thought I would get on ebay and see what I could afford in Apple...Thanks.

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Apples to Oranges

You are comparing apples to oranges. If you are looking for a used Apple system, make sure it will run the latest OS X, and if used you may have to purchase an upgrade to Leopard. If you get an Intel Mac, then it shouldn't be a problem. Generally the OS X requirements will be less than Windows Vista. If you are not familiar with OS X, then you should try and get your hands on one or look at a friends, because the interface is different, but not too difficult to transition to.

Back to Vista, if you need to re-install the OS, most newer systems come with a restore disk. This is an easier method than installing from a Vista DVD, as it will install the system back to factory configuration. Before doing that though you will need to backup all of your data. On my Windows machines, an annual procedure is to make a full backup and re-install the OS. It's a pain, but part of living with the Windows OS and making it continue to run smooth.

I also use Linux and have the same problem you do with the graphics applications. My full time desktop at work is Ubuntu with Windows XP in Virtual Box and at home, still running Vista. Work also supplies me with a Macbook Pro, I had it dual booting OS X and Vista, but I blasted Vista and now dual boot with Fedora Linux.

I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
--Groucho Marx

Linux Graphics Packages

I too am a Linux (and Mac) user. There are excellent graphics packages to meet my requirements: The GIMP (as a PhotoShop alternative), Inkscape (as a SVG editor). And although not "graphical" there Scribus as an alternative DTP).

I also use these same products on client's Windows machine from a USB flash drive with Portable Apps installed on it. The only thing I don't have on this USB is a copy of TeX (or LyX) because the portableApps version doesn't work.

As much as....

.... I would like to recommend an Apple to you, since you already have a decent computer, let's discuss your moving to Ubuntu first. If you could share your specific needs for graphics software, maybe we can help you find something that will work for you on Ubuntu first. If we can switch you to Ubuntu, that would save you money, at least for now. :-)

What specific software needs to you have, and how flexible are you for learning new programs or work flows? That would be a good starting spot.

BTW, I've had a few friends recently switch to Macs because of the recurring need to reformat and install (nuke and pave all over again). I don't know what it is about Windows that requires it, myself, as I've never used Windows (except for a couple times on this Wind, before I nuked it, and installed Leopard and Ubuntu). On my Macs, I've only ever upgraded in place, and only after a genuine hard drive crash have I had to "reformat" a drive. One computer's hard drive, in fact, went through several versions of the OS and three different Macs! It's still booting my PowerWave Apple Clone, running OS 9. The Mac OS, in any iteration, seems to be more robust than any version of Windows. Ubuntu has also been capable in my experience, not requiring nuking the hard drive. Either one should make you happy, IMO.



Thank you for all your valuable information! Now that I know better what is out there for an unbuntu user I am sure I can learn to use GIMP, inkscape and Scribus. It only takes time and a desire to escape Windows. Although it is not really important, if there is a linux program that will create greeting cards, etc., that would be really nice!

The Portable Apps site looks great! It is wonderful to discover that there is a whole world out there apart from Windows!

I have already made the switch from MS Word to Open Office and found it to met all my needs and some of my wishes. And thank the powers that be there are no little animated characters popping up and telling me what to do.

Because my job as a scrub nurse in surgery doesn't require much computer work, it is not an issue there. They use windows servers, etc., and that would not make me feel too secure as a patient!

After looking at the Tech specs for Mac's latest operating systems, I was amazed at how low they are. I will keep my eye out for an Apple laptop G5. If you will excuse a "girlie" comment, I wish those old "clamshell" Apple laptops were fast enough, they are so cute!

Thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it! Have you noticed that the people here at DIYplanner all seem to speak the same language? Everyone seems to understand what you are talking about. Thanks! :D


I've never tried making greeting cards in Linux but you may want to just try out OpenOffice (which comes with most versions of Linux) and see if there are any greeting card templates available online. If not, there are drawing tools that come with it where you could make them with a little bit of work.

Just a minor point of correction - there is no such thing as a G5 laptop. G4 is the latest processor they put in a laptop before switching to Intel processors.

If you buy an Apple laptop, you'll probably be better off looking for the Intel based ones. Macbook is the inexpensive ones, Macbook Pro are bigger & more powerful. Some software is coming out that requires the Intel-based Macs including the next version of MacOS/X. You can buy an older Macbook refurbished from Apple for $849, so I'm sure an earlier one should be easy to find at a lower price.


Otherwise ...

try out OpenOffice (which comes with most versions of Linux)

If your Linux distribution doesn't include by default then go to their web site here.

but what about the new drm

I just found out, while considering the switch from Windows to Mac, that I cannot play dvd's on a non approved drm external monitor if I get a MacBook or MacBook Pro. Can someone please explain that to me. Why would I want to buy one of those when if I want to play my movies I have to buy a brand new "approved" tv?

I have a movie bank of almost 3TB and play them on my old tv before drm was even talked about.

The other thing is that the MacBook/MB PRO line has no video output. It has Apples proprietary output jack for which I have to buy adaptors. What's up with that? Why don't they just make it easier for everyone to use rather than having to buy additional stuff?


Display Port?

You're talking about the new Display Port standard, I assume? My understanding is that is the new standard that will be replacing VGA and DVI and Apple is just one of the first manufacturers to support it. So no, it's not a "proprietary Apple" connector. Very annoying they don't include adapters to hook it up to normal VGA or DVI monitors though. The DRM isn't Apple's doing, I think it is being forced upon them, much like the DRM on music in the iTunes Music store was.

Personally I'm considering buying the previous generation of Mac laptop and using that until they get this thing figured out. You're right, having to buy a new TV to watch movies on your laptop along with a new connector to use it with your current monitor is ridiculous. Also the MacBook Pro's from the previous generation are on sale many places for something like $600 cheaper than the latest & greatest.


You must have an old computer or something

I'm in a unique postition to contrast MacOS X vs. Windows becuase I have a Mac at work and a Gateway multimedia Windows machine at home. I've always had a Windows machine at home -- by choice -- because the Macs at work do nothing but crash, crash, crash. (Oh, and freeze up!). They're not intuitive to use and the photo editing software doesn't do half the stuff I can do on my Windows machine at home. Mac runs slower than Windows, too. Find a Best Buy and let them wipe your hard drive and reboot it. At $65 it's worth it if things have gotten muddled. They can diagnose if something else is wrong, too. My previous computer was ancient when I started having all the problems. I asked them about doing it, they asked me a couple of pointed questions about the problems and quickly diagnosed that the hard drive fan was wearing out. They pointed out that it would be cheaper to buy a newer/faster/better machine than to fix that one, so I got this one. That was 3 years ago and I haven't had a bit of trouble -- no crashes, no freeze-ups -- just happy computing. I really don't see the fascination with Macs, particularly if you're the artsy creative sort.


that you say that. I work in a rather large company that has an in-house graphic design department. Each designer has a mac and windows machine on their desk - the mac for the creating process and windows for all of the corporate/admin stuff they have to wade through. I'm not artsy at all (just work down the hall from them), and because of my colleagues' set-up, I was always under the impression that the creatives preferred Macs. Hmmm, learn something new all the time here...


because the Macs at work do nothing but crash, crash, crash. (Oh, and freeze up!).

::sees the bait is attached to a hook. and lets it drift past without taking a bite::


macs and windows are both good machines, and...


"because the Macs at work do nothing but crash, crash, crash. (Oh, and freeze up!)."

Gosh, sounds like cpu pros updating mac os havent done so for a while, rather than the macs being primary causation. Crashing is often a symptom of incompatible third-party software that doesnt shake hands with the OS, et al. There are several software/ freewares and sharewares that ferret out conflicts that come from humans not yet updating system software, root OS, firmware, all softwares, mac progs and others, etc. After market and 3rd party software can really play havoc with the 1s and 0s, whether windows or mac

Macs freezing up, same. Someone has likely put something on the macs that is not made for mac first party... or the OS hasnt been upgraded (or low-graded enough) to be compatible. There have been at least 5, perhaps seven OS upgrades since the time when low end macs having insufficient RAM et al, long ago were not built to keep several programs open at once... and would sometimes crash from overload of 'many commands/refreshings etc., all at once.'. That hasnt been the case for years: Beginning with OS X, perhaps late versions of OS9, the stability became dependable day after day without even small issues arising.

I've a loaded mac that's a screamer, one of ten macs in this heavy workload office. Dont have a crash or freeze prob with any of them. Havent for years. (once a fan went out and caused hiccups, but replaced since, works perfectly) I run huge graphics programs, animation, layout, paint progs and 500-800 page text docs on our macs with 30" monitors and all kinds of gee-gaws attached including sound studio work. Precise. Smooth. Near perfect voo doo.

I do wear barrels instead of clothes and live in a tree at the river, however... given the initial cost of this superb equipment... fine tools, really, and worth every penny, and nearly fast as thought... my ultimate goal in cpu's

Sorry your machines dont work right. Like I said, bring in a mac expert, since there are more than one computers acting up at your office... it sounds like a systemic issue that has a core mixup at root. Likely since they all have the same symptoms, they have the same screwup. It may be simple to upgrade/ fix.

Just my two cents worth, ygor, and Jon, next, let's do Ford/Chevy. Or if one is 'kult-chahed" Mercedes/ BMW, in which case that's beyond my intelligence. I drive a pickup...

I just said that last para to make you laugh. I dont really live in a tree, but you ought to see my spring barrel collection.


Double standard?

I'm glad I could liven up the's been getting a little stale around DIY Planner of late. I agree with Lisa's comment about not wanting things to be mean-spirited. In that vein, I just want to add that while I respect everyone's right to choose their favorite computer system, I feel it should go both ways. Windows is a great system, too!

Also, I feel compelled to ask why Mac fans always make excuses for the failure of their machines (human error, you must have put 3rd party software that didn't mesh well, etc., etc.) but attribute all Windows machine failures to innate badness of the machine. Seems like a double standard to me: If I have a Mac it's all MY fault, but if I have a Windows computer it's just a bad, Bad, BAD machine???! The point being that BOTH systems fail from time to time.

A computer is made to be used and part of that is being able to load a program that will meet your needs and use it on your machine. It shouldn't take a Ph.D. to correctly operate an ordinary desktop or laptop and you shouldn't have to be limited to only things Mac approves of.

Over and out.



"Also, I feel compelled to ask why Mac fans always make excuses for the failure of their machines (human error, you must have put 3rd party software that didn't mesh well, etc., etc.) but attribute all Windows machine failures to innate badness of the machine. "

Sorry, cant answer your question cause I dont take that position. I dont personally know anyone else who does, but I would think, given human nature, one could find someone dedicatedly disagreeable about most anything on earth. Personally I dont want to spend my time on that. I'd rather wash another leper.

Just my very .02, maybe even .01


why Mac fans always make excuses

I am as enthisiastic a Mac fan as they come, and I find that statement very interesting.
I have found, from experience, that on any operating system (Mac, Windows, Unix, etc.) that things get less stable when you add too many "bells and whistles" to the mix. A simpler system runs smoother. I think everyone can agree with that.

A simple Unix/Linux system is very easy. Look at all them Live CD's.
A simple Mac system has gotten a less so over the years, but it remains easy to accomplish as there are lots of available options for simplification.

<start Anti Microsoft Rant Mode>
Where Microsoft operating systems fall short, IMNSHO (in my not-so-humble opinion), is that they are impossible to simplify because the option to do so is unavailable to the average Joe Idiot User. Therefore, all blame for the perceived instability of Windows is directed completely at Microsoft.
<stop Anti Microsoft Rant Mode>

There. Now I feel better :)

Disclaimer: All of this is my personal opinion based on my experiences. And we all know about opinions. Opinions are like strings -- Every yo-yo has one.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

you must have old Macs or something

I've been using a Mac since 10.3 and have had far fewer problems with it than with Windows. Neither system is perfect - far from it. But comparing the two I'd take the Mac any day. The only problems I've seen crop up with Macs in the last 5 years have been because people outdated software on newer Macs - such as using the PowerPC based version of Photoshop & other Adobe products on a Intel-based Mac.

Also as far as it being intuitive: anyone used to Windows will find the Mac quite unintuitive. I've had many times I've spent quite a while trying to figure out how to do something on a Mac only to find out there was a really, really easy way to do it & I was trying to do it in a complicated way. I'd guess that anyone used to Linux would find both the Mac and Windows to be quite unintuitive.

For the artsy types: my wife has been doing graphic design for almost 8 years. In the first 3 years, she basically broke 4 PCs. They could not handle 1 GB and sometimes larger Photoshop files. She has been using MacBook Pros since then and is only on her second one. The first one is still working, they just wanted to get her something faster.


That's interesting...

I adore Windows for the same reason your wife prefers Macs. Those files upwards of 1 gig are extremely slow and/or freeze up my new Mac at work, but my Windows machine handles them quickly/efficiently. My daughter and I both do a lot of video editing as well as manipulating stills, and we and our associates have all found Windows highly superior for this task. Businesses I know in our area which use Macs, including where I work, use Windows for the Business Office (for the financial software), and on the data computers. Everyone else is stuck with a Mac, but the choice of where to place the Windows machines kind of says it all -- you put the best machines on the most important tasks. Bottom line is that perhaps different machines work differently in different environments/areas of the country and you just have to find the one that works best in your own situation.


Apple knocks Windoze out of the park when it comes to speed. Apple is superior in just about any catetory you can think of. Sure, they're more expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Debbie, who wouldn't even begin to consider anything but a Mac. (And, no, I don't work for Apple or have any stock in the company.)

Debbie... I WAS considering it, but now...


I was considering replacing my laptop with a Mac but I play movies from my computer onto my tv screen since I do not get tv stations. With the new Macs I have to buy a brand new "approved" monitor/tv to play them on. Or, I can look for some sort of go around hack and become a criminal for using my own tv. So, why would I even consider buying new Mac now?

But somewhere along the line I remember reading something about Vista limiting the resolution of movies played on an external monitor. Does anyone on here know anything about that?


If your current TV...

has component (red-green-blue) video input or HDMI, consider an AppleTV.
I have one and I love it.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Try one, Arthur

Just to say that you gave it a shot. There's a reason why we who are addicted to Macs are, well, addicted.

Mac OS X...

...because making Unix user friendly is far easier a task than repairing Windows.

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Warning plea

Computers and operating system discussions can quickly turn into flame wars (I've seen it happen often). I'd hate to see people get burned on this forum, as the people here have so much more in common than on most places on the web. DIY Planner is a refuge for me from people who just don't understand my paper, pen, and planner "issues."

Please be respectful and play nice.

numbers alone do not connote a higher life form

DOS computers, made by I.B.M., Compaq, Tandy and about a million other companies, are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans will note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not connote a higher life form.

New York Times, November 26, 1991

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Douglas Adams on Microsoft

New! Improved! Almost as good as a Mac!

What on earth is going on? Have we found intelligent life on other planets? Abolished war and famine? Found Elvis? Have we even devised a new and better way of using computers? No. All that's happened is that Microsoft has remodelled its operating system so that it's now more like the Macintosh. This may well be a cause for rejoicing among Windows users, but it's hardly a giant leap for mankind and doesn't warrant this sense that we're all supposed to celebrate early and avoid the millenium rush. As part of this billion dollar festival of smoke and mirrors Bill Gates has apparently paid the Rolling Stones eight million actual pounds for the right to use "Start me up", the song which is better known for its catchy refrain "You make a grown man cry". This is a phrase you may hear a lot of over the next few days as millions of people start actually trying to install Windows 95. Even the best designed systems can be a nightmare to upgrade, but whatever things Microsoft may be famous for - the wealth of its founder, the icy grip he exerts on what is arguably the most important industry on this planet - good systems design is not, as it happens, one of them.

Let's dispel a few myths.

There's one which says that the original PC operating system was a brilliant feat of programming by boy genius Bill Gates. It wasn't brilliant and Gates didn't write it. He acquired it, "shrewdly", from an outfit called the Seattle Computer Company and then immediately licensed it on to another, larger outfit called IBM. When the IBM PC was launched into a market which had hitherto been serviced by garage companies named after bits of fruit, it carried the imprimatur of a world renowned name and sold a zillion, thus making Bill Gates's operating system a world standard. IBM had failed to realise that any fool could make the boxes, but the hand that owned the software ruled the world. Big Blue had given the kid Gates a free ride into the stratosphere and then, astoundingly, found itself starting to fall away like a discarded booster rocket.

Sadly, this new world software standard was actually a piece of crap. MS-DOS, as Gates called it, had started life as QDOS-86, or the Quick & Dirty Operating System, which told you all you needed to know about it. A whole generation of people doggedly learned to run their businesses on a system that was written as a quick lash-up for hobbyists and hackers. Was there anything better around? Of course.

In the 1970's Xerox had funded a team of the world's top computer scientists to research the man/machine interface. They devised a graphical system, using windows, icons, and mice. Their key insight was that a lot of needless complications could be shortcut by harnessing people's intuitive and gestural skills. Oddly, Xerox failed to follow this up, and the research was taken up and brought to market by Apple Computer as the Macintosh. After a shaky, underpowered start, this machine matured into a well-integrated system which was not only very powerful, but a real pleasure to use. Mac users tend to have an almost fanatical devotion to their machines.

The Microsoft line on all this was that windows were for wimps. The truth was that plain old MS-DOS couldn't actually do them. Graphics, mice, networking and a whole lot else besides, had to be added to the basic core of QDOS as one afterthought after another, which is why Wintel computers are so fiendishly complicated to set up and maintain. Which in turn is why Data Processing Managers so much prefer them to Macintoshes: nobody wants to buy a machine that will do them out of a job.

Gates, however, had always known which way the future lay, and for years Microsoft managed the awkward juggling act of rubbishing Apple's user interface while simultaneously trying to devise something like it that would fit on top of the bloated clutter that DOS had become.

BYTE magazine said recently "It would not be an exaggeration to describe the history of the computer industry for the past decade as a massive effort to keep up with Apple". However, the Macintosh is not the last word in interface design, and if Microsoft had been the innovative company it calls itself, it would have taken the opportunity to take a radical leap beyond the Mac, instead of producing a feeble, me-too imitation. An awful lot of people who try to install Windows 95 will end up having to spend so much money buying extra RAM and upgrading their peripherals in order to get features that Mac users have enjoyed for years, that they might just as well give up and buy the real thing.

The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all his customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who by peddling second-hand, second-rate technology, led them all into it in the first place.

[my emphasis -- ygor]

© 1995 Completely Unexpected Productions Ltd.

Author: Douglas Adams
Source: "The Guardian" of Friday September 1, 1995

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

every os sucks

I just had to throw this in here. There is a comedy group called "Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie" (not kidding!) that does a song called "Every OS Sucks"

I think this is supposed to be the video, but I'm not sure. It's blocked for me here at work :-(


Did you ever see ...

"Internet Help Desk" ?
I like the live version best, but they are all great !
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

thank you supenguin!!!


that was a laugh well enjoyed; what great guys, 'every OS sucks' , very funny, but also somehow cool to see a 21st century dude dressed 'wandering man circa 1930s style' and head shaven guy who doesnt look mean but the kind of guy you'd like to get to know, cause he prob make you laugh over just about anything. Thanks again supenguin


threadjack & tech support

Now that I've completely hijacked a thread thanks to some dead trolls... Do a search on YouTube for tech support books. There is a video of what it may have been like for the first people who had to private tech support for this new fangled technology called "books." Anyone who has ever worked for a help desk or had to help a confused friend or family member work a computer will find it downright hilarious.


another vote for Macs

Amen to supenguin's post: Macs are not perfect, but in general they tend to work better than Windows-based PCs. If you're considering Macs, consider refurbished models from Apple's web store - I've always had great results from refurbished Apple products, and I'm currently using a refurbed Mac Mini and a refurned iPod Touch. Both work flawlessly.

Re the Mac Mini: It can be a good deal if you already have a good display, USB keyboard and USB mouse. If you don't have these or would want to replace them, I'd consider an iMac. The only other problem I see with the Mini is that it's rarely available refurbished (I got lucky).

Aside from the Mini, my wife and I both have refurbished Dell Vostro 1000s from Dell's Outlet site. Vista Home Basic was removed from both and we're running Linux Mint, which I highly recommend if you're considering Linux. All that said, I love my Mac, and I love having almost none of the maintenance and headaches that in my experience are common with Windows.